Cyprus Mail
Crime

Murdered businessman was warned his life was in danger

The murder scene

Authorities had warned an Ayia Napa businessman that his life was in danger before he was murdered along with two other people – a police officer and his wife – in a restaurant in June last year, a court heard on Tuesday.

Yiannis Theophanous Kalopsidiotis, the nephew of Phanos Kalopsidiotis, 52, who was also a director in his businesses, told the court that his uncle was murdered because he refused to allow drugs to be sold in his night clubs.

Kalopsidiotis was gunned down in a gangland shooting along with police officer Elias Hadjiefthymiou, 46, and his wife Skevi, 39, while having dinner at the Stone Garden restaurant on the evening of June 23 last year.

One of the shooters, Albanian Yiani Vogli, was also killed in the incident while a second police officer at the table sustained serious injuries.

A second Albanian national, Aleks Burreli, who took part in the shooting is still at large.

The couple’s two children, 15 and 12, were also present but they escaped unharmed.

Four suspects implicated in the case – Marios Christodoulou (Benny), 39, Panayiotis Pentavkas, 38, Loy Dejan, 42, and Sofia Gregoriou, 28 – are on trial, charged with premeditated murder and conspiracy.

Two other suspects, Charalambos Andreou, 32, and Sotira Neophytou, 30, admitted involvement in the case and were jailed for life and five months respectively in October 2016.

Theophanous told the court on Tuesday that his uncle had told him that Pentavkas was his enemy because of his refusal to allow drugs in his clubs.

He also said he heard that an Ayia Napa businessman who had professional differences with Kalopsidiotis was behind another multiple murder in June 2012.

Three Cypriots and two Romanians were gunned down execution-style in Ayia Napa in the early hours of June 23, 2012. The deceased men worked as security guards for Kalopsidiotis.

Kalopsidiotis believed Pentavkas had also been involved in that incident, the court heard.

Theophanous said his uncle had been warned by the justice minister and the chief of police that he was in danger from Pentavkas and another individual from Nicosia.

According to Kalopsidiotis, the court heard, police had warned him that Pentavkas wanted to kill him, his nephew, and Phanos’ dad.

That was before Phanos’ father, Yiannis, was gunned down in 2014.

Theophanous said the other defendant, Christodoulou, had picked up the two shooters from Tympou airport in north Cyprus in April, 2016.

Theophanous is the son of Andros Kalopsidiotis, 25, killed in 1996 at the apartment of his friend Petros Yiannaki in Ayia Napa.

The family believed the bomb had been placed to kill Andros but reports suggested he had been preparing the device when it blew up.

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